Stellar Fun in Joshua Tree National Park

As part of homeschool we have been studying the solar system since we visited Bryce National Park this past November and had the most fabulous time star gazing. The kids have enjoyed working through kid friendly astronomy books, visiting a planetarium, and tracking the stars, moon, and planets as we travel. However, nothing so far could top what was waiting for us just outside the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park: our very own telescope rental!

Coyote Telescope Rentals has to be one of the coolest businesses that we have come across. They rent out telescopes and star gazing equipment so that kids, adults, and families can get an up-close look at the night sky. The owners, Leigh-Ann and Darryl, are super enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their rental telescopes and about what to use them to look at.

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Honestly we were more than a little bit nervous to attempt to use a telescope with three young children. Neither of us had prior experience and the telescope seemed big and very expensive. However, the friendly folks at Coyote Telescope Rentals eased all of our fears and made the rental process smooth. They were great with the kids, who were each given their own red-light star gazing lantern and star chart. After meeting with Leigh-Ann and Darryl the kids were so excited to take part in such an awesome activity that they couldn’t wait for the sun to go down.

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Our rental took place just one night before the lunar eclipse when the moon was almost full and very bright. Therefore Leigh-Ann and Darrryl set us up with a telescope that would work best for viewing the moon, as most other objects would be washed out by the light of the moon. They gave us recommendations on which lenses and filters to use and then we were off to try the telescope out for ourselves.

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The Younger Fives loved helping to set up the telescope and get everything ready before it became too dark. The model that we rented could be placed on a table which made it very accessible to the kids. The moon ended up being the best object to look at as it was so big and easy for the kids to quickly find and stay focused on. They were all blown away by viewing the moon in such detail. Their excitement quickly made our fellow campers interested in what we were doing and it was great to tell them that you could rent telescopes in the area. As a family who packs light but still likes to benefit from great equipment like telescopes we just love that a business like Coyote Telescope Rental exists.

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